On the eve of the start of SBK and MotoGP Championshipssource: moto.racing-live.com
The official Ducati Corse riders all came to Bologna last week for their traditional visit to the factory before the start of the MotoGP and World Superbike Championships, which will see them heading off to the five continents.
On Thursday afternoon, Loris Capirossi, Sete Gibernau, Troy Bayliss, Lorenzo Lanzi and Vittoriano Guareschi first met up with Ducati employees, who didn't miss an opportunity to shake hands, ask for autographs and photos and wish the five riders all the best as they get ready to represent the Italian manufacturers colours in the two championships.
It was am extraordinary return home for Troy Bayliss who, after a gap of one year, returned to the Ducati factory to find that he was still one of the employees' all-time favourite riders.
The times set by the Australian during recent tests in Valencia and Qatar demonstrate that the 2001 Superbike champion has not lost the feeling with the twin-cylinder Ducati Superbike. He will be flanked in this Superbike season by the talented youngster Lorenzo Lanzi, the first Italian to ride for the official World Superbike team since Pierfrancesco Chili in 1998; Lanzi was able to feel at first hand the full impact of being a factory rider as he was swamped by numerous Ducati employees.
An incredible welcome was reserved for 'veteran' Loris Capirossi, the new signing in the MotoGP team Sete Gibernau and test-rider Vittoriano Guareschi. Loris might feel entirely at home in the Borgo Panigale factory, but every time he appears the warmth with which he is greeted within Ducati becomes even greater: for him hundreds of photos, autographs, hugs, complements and words of encouragement for the tough season that lies ahead.